Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside
Interior Refurbishment Project
In February 2004, I undertook to completely gut the plane's interior, down to the floorboards, and replace/refurbish interior parts of this then-38-year-old airplane as necessary. All-new side-panel upholstery, new carpet and re-covering the seats in leather was part of the plan, as was refurbishing/painting the various metal and plastic parts throughout the cabin. Adding map pockets, cup holders and making the cabin generally more functional were also parts of the plan.
What was not part of the plan was to replace the floorboards. This is the process I employed to fabricate new ones:
1. Unload junk from pickup truck
2. Call local high-end lumber yard, ask about marine-grade plywood, 1/4-inch thick.
3. Play Solitaire on computer while salesperson tries to figure out if they have any.
4. Lose three Solitaire games while waiting on hold.
5. Thank salesperson when she returns; tell her you'll be down tomorrow to pick it up.
6. Next morning, go to local high-end lumber yard.
7. Wait in line with third-world contractors who eye my yuppiness suspiciously.
8. Pay for plywood; load in truck; drive home. Unload plywood.
9. Put junk back in pickup truck.
10. Wait on girlfriend to arrive as helper.
11. Lay out plywood over landscape timbers on carport, good side down.
12. Mount plywood blade on circular saw; run drop cord to saw.
13. Lay old floorboards, upside down, on new plywood, being careful of grain pattern (new floorboards will be stronger if grain runs width-wise, i.e., from one side of cabin to another.)
14. Trace old floorboards' outline with Magic Marker, including cutouts.
15. Cut new floorboards with circular saw, using care to avoid girlfriend's foot with saw. Best to cut them slightly oversize, so you can trim them to fit later. Best also to avoid wrapping drop cord around girlfriend.
16. Use portable jigsaw to finish cutouts. Apologize to girlfriend for getting sawdust on her sneakers. Get her cold Corona from refrigerator.
17. Unbolt stiffeners from certain floorboards. Use two (2) pair needle-nose Vise-grips and girlfriend. Mark each floorboard and stiffener as to which floorboard it goes to.
18. Use wood chisel to loosen reluctant stiffeners. Get girlfriend new beer.
19. Ask girlfriend to try to remove staples and rivets attaching metal strips to front floorboard.
20. Get self a beer. Using old floorboards as template, drill matching holes in new floorboards.
21. Notice girlfriend has bent the snot out of one of the metal strips. Suggest that bending expensive aircraft parts is inappropriate.
22. Engage girlfriend in heated discussion of Beechcraft parts availability and prices.
23. Throw empty beer bottles in trash as girlfriend drives off in huff.
24. Sand new floorboards. Finish removing metal strips from front floorboard. Bend strip back into shape.
25. Glue stiffeners to new floorboards.
26. Email girlfriend.
27. Finish new floorboards with varnish of choice (I used a polyurethane spar varnish).
28. Debate which mechanical fasteners to use attaching stiffeners. Decide on cheap (Home Depot) aluminum pop rivets.
29. Note lack of response from girlfriend. Put second coat of varnish on new floorboards. Sand upper surface; apply third coat.
30. Start search for new girlfriend.
Here are some images of the overall interior refurbishment process, in no particular order.
(Click on any thumbnail for a larger version.)
Nikon Coolpix 950
Copyright © Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside, 2009. All rights reserved.